'Never Crossing The Botox Rubicon': Amanda Peet Explores Aging In Hollywood NPR's Kelly McEvers speaks with actress Amanda Peet about her Lenny Letter essay, "Never Crossing The Botox Rubicon," and how to navigate aging in the image-obsessed entertainment industry.
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'Never Crossing The Botox Rubicon': Amanda Peet Explores Aging In Hollywood

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'Never Crossing The Botox Rubicon': Amanda Peet Explores Aging In Hollywood

'Never Crossing The Botox Rubicon': Amanda Peet Explores Aging In Hollywood

'Never Crossing The Botox Rubicon': Amanda Peet Explores Aging In Hollywood

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/476204005/476204006" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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NPR's Kelly McEvers speaks with actress Amanda Peet about her Lenny Letter essay, "Never Crossing The Botox Rubicon," and how to navigate aging in the image-obsessed entertainment industry.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Amanda Peet has some time on her hands. Her show, HBO's "Togetherness," was just canceled after two seasons. And she was great in the show. She played Tina, a seemingly shallow woman coming to terms with where she is in life and what she really wants. Let's hear a clip.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "TOGETHERNESS")

AMANDA PEET: (As Tina Morris) Do you know what it's called when you get pregnant after 35? A geriatric pregnancy. And I'm not kidding. So I have a geriatric vagina - geri-ina(ph). Apparently, I don't have any eggs left.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) You don't know yet.

PEET: The ones I have left are all like, hey, sonny boy, come over here.

MCEVERS: And now, she has been writing about what it's like getting older in Hollywood. She wrote a piece in Lenny Letter titled "Never Crossing The Botox Rubicon." And Amanda Peet is here with me right now. Hi there.

PEET: Hi there.

MCEVERS: Could you start by reading us this one paragraph of your essay that starts, it's painfully obvious?

PEET: Yes, I will - only because you made me (laughter). (Reading) It's painfully obvious, but I'm still ashamed to admit this - I care about my looks. How else can I explain my trainer, stylist and Barney's card? I've bleached my teeth, dyed my hair, peeled and lasered my face and tried a slew of age-defying creams. More than once, I've asked the director of photography on a show to soften my laugh lines. Nothing about this suggests I'm aging gracefully.

MCEVERS: This is not something we hear very often. Why did you feel like you had to admit it?

PEET: You know, I think I just have been having a kind of prolonged midlife crisis/existential neurotic meltdown.

MCEVERS: Fair enough.

PEET: (Laughter). A lot of us talk about how our faces are sagging and - to Botox or not to Botox, that is the question.

MCEVERS: Right, but the essay is all about how you're not going to get this work done. And there's some sort of funny reasons for that, right? Like, one is - I mean, it sounds like it's not, like, a moral decision. It was more, like, because you're sort of terrified of what could go wrong.

PEET: Well, yes, I have neurotic, magical thinking about it. And something I thought about often while I was writing it is the movie "Moonstruck." And in "Moonstruck," Olympia Dukakis' character is trying to find out why men cheat. And finally, the doofy guy who Loretta's going to marry says, because they fear death. And then, in her scene with Cosmo, she says, Cosmo, I want you to know, no matter what you do, you're going to die, just like everybody else. And for some reason, this is incredibly powerful to me. And that's sort of what I tell myself when I think about, maybe I'll just go get a little bit (laughter).

MCEVERS: What? That, like, it doesn't matter because I'm going to die anyway?

PEET: Kind of, yeah. You're going to be a bag of dust soon, so what is the point of all this?

MCEVERS: What does it matter if you're a wrinkly bag of dust or - yeah.

PEET: Kind of, yeah.

MCEVERS: Do you feel like you have to draw a line in the sand somewhere? Is that what you're saying?

PEET: Yes, I think everybody does, and this was just about mine.

MCEVERS: Yeah.

PEET: And I think having daughters is a huge part of that.

MCEVERS: You write about that, too - I mean, in this funny way. You say you don't want your daughters to grow up and become feminists.

PEET: Well, wait a minute, I do want them to become feminists.

MCEVERS: Well, I was - let me finish the thought. You don't want your daughters to grow up and become feminists and realize that you gave into the corporate patriarchy (laughter) by - you know, by getting all this work done. I mean, but is it more serious than that?

PEET: Well, I guess I don't have a lot of credibility being an actress and having done some of the movies that I've done. So I think some of the sort of time and money I spent on grooming had to do with sublimating some of my dissatisfaction with my career and where I was in my career and how it wasn't very intellectually stimulating. And so that makes me think about them a lot, too, because I want them to be fulfilled in that way. And I don't want this to be an emphasis for them. I just don't

MCEVERS: They've already watched you get your hair done, get your makeup done...

PEET: Yes, I feel very neurotic when - yeah.

MCEVERS: ...Get dressed in gowns.

PEET: When they watch me in hair and makeup, I feel like - should I go hide (laughter) in my room? And sweetly, my sister was the one who was like, stop hiding. Stop hiding what you do. It's not good for them. That's not good for them either.

MCEVERS: Right - because you didn't want them to see that there's a world in which this stuff matters this much.

PEET: Well, it's just so peculiar - the relevance it has. I mean, my sister's daughter came to visit us here, and she came into my closet. And in my defense, I want you to know that a lot of people come over and say, wow, for an actress, your closet's pretty small. You don't have that many shoes. But my sister's daughter came into my closet and was, like, completely bewildered - I mean, just so innocent and so just bewildered and was like, why do you have so many shoes? And I couldn't think of a good answer

MCEVERS: So, I mean, have you made, like some kind of decision here? Like, you're just like, I'm not - this is not a priority anymore?

PEET: No. You will see me - you will see me in Barney's at lunch.

MCEVERS: Right - as soon as you leave here.

(LAUGHTER)

PEET: From NPR to Barney's - my ideal day.

MCEVERS: Amanda Peet, thank you so much.

PEET: Thank you so much.

MCEVERS: That was actress Amanda Peet. Her essay in Lenny Letter is called "Never Crossing The Botox Rubicon."

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